Deadlock on Canadian GP

Canada's government has no intention of compromising its anti-tobacco laws in order to save the country's Grand Prix. Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is insisting on a permanent exemption of a ban on tobacco advertising if Montreal is to keep its race.

Deadlock on Canadian GP

"The government has no intention whatsoever of amending the law," said Steven Hogue, a spokesman for Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Ecclestone, speaking in an interview published in Le Journal de Montreal, said he is not interested in any kind of short-term deal allowing teams to run with tobacco advertising for next year only.

"They should give us a permanent exemption. If an exemption is good for one year, why not for 20? I find it a bit ridiculous to set a time limit."

Ecclestone has made clear his wish to resolve the crisis and see Montreal keep its race. The event is one of the most popular on the Formula One schedule. But if teams cannot run cigarette sponsorships, they will not be able to race there. Only the BAR team have said they will agree to run without tobacco sponsorhsip if Montreal goes ahead.

"How many other sporting events in Canada attract 300 million television viewers around the world? If the governments of Quebec and Canada truly believe the Grand Prix is an important event for the country, they need to review their laws and adjust them to reflect the importance of the event."

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